Veg packed macaroni cheese

I love these types of meals. Ones that use up loads of leftovers and get rid of odds and sods of pasta at the back of the cupboard. Ones that start with low expectations, but actually turn out to be the favourite meal of the week! I had some cheese left over (still!) from a hen do from a few weeks back. Brie, Red Leicester and Cheddar mainly. I also had veggies that has somehow escaped the meal plan at some point and were slightly past their best. Plus two separate bags of macaroni pasta that needed using up – by the way you could totally use up a mixture of pasta (sometimes you end up with small amounts in bags that never get used, this is perfect for that).

Smothering vegetables in cheese sauce with pasta (and even allowing a squirt of ketchup) is certainly one way to get vegetables into your kids, anyway. It works in this house.

I couldn’t resist slicing up one lone, sad looking tomato over the top to make it all rather 1980s… it goes with my retro tea towel!

Makes: enough for 4-6 people (with a side)

Takes: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • About 350g macaroni
  • 1 head broccoli, stalk chopped into dice and thick florets split in two
  • Handful of spinach
  • Mugful of sweetcorn, frozen or tinned (use peas if you want to)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • About 150-200g leftover cheese (grated Cheddar, Brie – anything pretty much)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra grating of Parmesan for the top
  • Sliced tomatoes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Bring a pan of water to boil and chuck in pasta and broccoli. Cook until al dente (both). Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, put butter, flour and milk in jug and microwave for 6 mins, stirring each minute. Or, melt butter in pan, add flour to make a roux, then add milk gradually. Season with salt and pepper and add cheese. Mix to combine.
  4. Fold the pasta and broccoli into the cheese sauce and add spinach and sweetcorn. Top with sliced tomatoes and grated Parmesan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, until brown and bubbling.
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